First-year teachers prepare for a unique school year

Local News

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) – Every year, many brand new teachers join school districts throughout Siouxland. But this new school year, those first-time educators are beginning their careers in a pandemic.

“Who would have ever thought my first year teaching would look like this,” said Morgan Knuppel, a Preschool Teacher at E.N. Swett Elementary School, in South Sioux City School District.

No amount of college textbooks could prepare Knuppel for what is to come this school year.

“I’m excited for the kids to get here and I’m excited to get into the routine and get my teaching career started but like I said there is an unknown but we will get through it together,” said Knuppel.

She will have 26 pupils in her classroom. She has been aligning her curriculum with the South Sioux City Community School Districts Return to Learn Plans.

“We will be having a little bit smaller class sizes. We will have a.m. and p.m. sessions. We will also be limiting movement throughout the building. We will have a breakfast and sack lunch inside the classroom this year to help limit that movement,” said Knuppel.

Down the road from the preschool building, first-year teacher Kailey Casey is welcoming 17 students into her classroom.

“It’s not at all what I expected for my first year. We are taking a lot of handwashing breaks and we will not have any sort of physical touch with each other. We’re going to clean our desk very frequently so that will be new for the kids,” said Kailey Casey, a 3rd-grade teacher at Covington Elementary.

She says the use of technology will be at the center of her daily lessons. It’s a measure to help prepare students for any curve ball the new school year may bring.

“We’re implementing google classroom right away in case of a shutdown. Our kids are going to know how to implement Google Classroom right away,” said Casey.

The teachers tell us, they’re strengthening their classroom plans and their mindsets.

“To not only stay positive for myself but to stay positive for my kids because this is going to be a really hard year for everyone and I think its the best thing I can do,” said Casey.

Classes begin August 13th for students kindergarten through 6th grade and 9th graders. The remainder of the students will start class on Friday, August 14th.

Students, teachers, and staff will be required to wear masks while in the school buildings and follow social distancing guidelines.

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